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Thread: Is my new mando trash?

  1. #26

    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Hi Lee,
    I would venture to say you didn't take a high enough leap. I think you need to move up to the +$1000 range to find significant improvement. If you shop in the upper model ranges of Kentucky or Eastman you can get a nice sounding mandolin for under $2k. Used, you may find something U.S. made, especially if you're willing to forgo the scroll.

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Roy View Post
    Hi Lee,
    I would venture to say you didn't take a high enough leap. I think you need to move up to the +$1000 range ... get a nice sounding mandolin for under $2k. ...
    Excellent point. Too many newbies think of a 50% increase in price as being a "significant" upgrade, when what that mostly buys you is a differnet combination of compromises. An upgrade that's truly noticeable from most perspectives probably take an increase of, just guessing, 300% or so.

    Of course, any one of us might find a good upgrade for far less than that, depending on which combination of factors we personally find most important.
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
    - Ian Tyson

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  4. #28

    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeGarrett View Post
    Iíve been playing a Kentucky km-150 for a bit now. Itís been great. Itís loud, it has a nice ďbarkĒ, I enjoy the sound of my chops on it, etc. I saw an ad for a loar lm-600. I read a lot about how people liked them and the price was really good so I said to hell with it, letís get it. I HATE IT. It feels heavier than my Kentucky, it sounds kinda quiet and I feel like itís just got this dry boring almost tinny tone. Is this how these just are? Itís had a setup and itís comfortable to play but aside from that Iím scared to invest into a new bridge and waste money if it does nothing for the mando. Does anybody think a bridge can do THAT MUCH for a situation like this? Do I need to just cut my losses and put it back out into the wild? Iím trying to convince myself that itís ok and maybe it needs to ďopen upĒ 😂 or maybe itís a good tone and just something Iím not used to. Maybe my expectations of it sounding like a better version of my Kentucky have skewed my thoughts?
    I would say keep the one you like and save up for a higher end preferably American made instrument, new or used but play it before you buy it.

  5. #29
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    I bought a Brand X mandolin several years ago. I didnít like it much. So, I took it to a really good setup person. She worked it over doing all of the normal things. It felt great! Problem is, I still didnít really like it. Sometimes, things just arenít meant to be.

  6. #30
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Barnett View Post
    I bought a Brand X mandolin several years ago. I didnít like it much. So, I took it to a really good setup person. She worked it over doing all of the normal things. It felt great! Problem is, I still didnít really like it. Sometimes, things just arenít meant to be.
    Wise words here. Well said

  7. #31
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    In my experience it has been "yes", "no".......love or ambivalence. In the first thirty seconds. And no tweaking or changing is going to make enough of a difference. Is kind of like my love life.

    So far.

    Ship it. And watch the want ads on the Cafe. Like the rest of us.

  8. #32

    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Make sure your tailpiece isn't touching/pressing down on the top of your mando. When that happens, it mutes the sound. You can loosen the strings and use a shoestring to pull/bend the metal upward and get some clearance. Or order a new tailpiece with stronger metal.

    Also consider contouring the feet of the bridge to make better contact with the top of the mandolin, through gentle sanding of the feet.

    I tinkered this way with a $300 "The Loar" and the sound improved greatly at minimal cost.

  9. #33
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Is my new mando trash?

    May just want to be saving $$* to fund something of quality, but costing 10 X more,
    rather than trying to change what you have into it , but keep playing what you can afford, in the meantime
    playing the music, while desiring the next MAS upgrade in the future ..

    * it's functionally like a 'Swear Jar' ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  10. #34
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    You can always do the Strings shuffle. It's not unknown for a mandolin to be restricted by too meaty a string set. Maby try the DR rare ones with the hexagonal cores, they come up well on some mandolins and are hopeless on others. You probably need to try both ways lighter to see if you free up the top & heavier in case the top needs driving harder.

    I still really like my km150 even though I mostly play my custm made Davidson 2 point or Calace bowlback, It still has a role in my arsenal & has been an amazing value for money instrument serving well for 11 years & counting.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

  11. #35
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Check out OP's 180ļ hate-love turn-around.

    And all because of a Cumberland bridge.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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  13. #36

    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Seems you like the KM-150, and you have plenty of company. I agree with Ed above, Kentuckyís may not look as nice as Loars or Eastmans but they seem to be more consistently emphasizing good sound. I have an old KM-180B, nothing to look at but now sounds like entry-mid level luthier issue. Nearly anytime I picked up a KM-anything at a store, it sounded and felt right, to me anyway. May be best to not dwell on it, sell the LM-600 now, enjoy the KM-150, be patient and along the way youíll find what youíre looking for, trying it out at a shop in your region or while traveling. May be an A, may be an F, may be a looker or not, but itís out there.

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